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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Domicio dos Santos Neto is described by sources as “a renowned name in the market” who is a go-to for structured agricultural trade finance matters involving international investment funds.  

Questions & Answers

Domicio dos Santos Neto is the founding partner at Santos Neto Advogados, and head of agribusiness, project finance, trade finance, corporate finance and banking and finance departments. Domicio has an outstanding track record advising clients on the negotiation of cross-border transactions, structured commodity financings and syndicated loans, with more than 31 years of experience. Domicio was admitted to the Brazilian Bar Association, in 1990, and has a master’s degree in commercial law from the University of São Paulo.

What inspired you to pursue a legal career?

Although I have never wanted to be a labour lawyer, my father, who was a labour lawyer, was my first inspiration for choosing a legal career. What really made me decide to pursue a legal career was the possibility of working in the corporate and business fields. 

Why did you decide to set up your own firm?

Since the beginning of law school, I had the dream of setting up my own firm. After my graduation, and after having had some professional experiences, I decided, in 1992, to establish the firm. Despite the difficulties in the first years, I do not regret the decision.

How has the agribusiness market changed since you first started practising?

I have worked in the agribusiness sector since 1994. Agribusiness, at that time, was quite incipient. Basic instruments, such as agricultural pledge, CPR, warrants, etc., were not commonly used. I was lucky, because I had the chance to participate in the creation of several different instruments, assisting the ministry of economy in implementing the so-called agribusiness titles (CDCA, CDA/WA, CRA and LCA), and more recently in drafting the agribusiness law (Law 13,986), which brought several innovations to agribusiness legislation. Nowadays, agribusiness is the most developed sector in Brazil, and is one of the disciplines offered in law schools. Back in the ’90s, we had to be creative, in order to structure transactions in the agribusiness sector, due to the lack of doctrine, legislation, and case law, which have been enriched in the last 25 years.

What key developments are currently taking place in Brazil’s agribusiness sector? 

The last two years were very rich in terms of innovations in agribusiness law. Indeed, the ministry of agriculture came to listen to what the market – lawyers, traders, banks, investors, consultants, etc. – had to say in order to enhance finance mechanisms and collateral structures. The result was the Law 13,986 enacted in April 2020, which is a legislative milestone. Now, a new round is being conducted by the ministry of agriculture, with the focus of modernising the collateral registration system in Brazil, making it cheaper, faster and reliable.

What pre-existing economic issues will the covid-19 outbreak exacerbate in Brazil, and how will this affect the country’s agribusiness market? 

In general, the Brazilian agribusiness market was not affected by covid-19. The whole chain of agribusiness was considered as essential activity by the Brazilian government, and this helped the GDP of the agribusiness sector to grow 24.31% in 2020, which is a new record.

What is the most memorable case you have been a part of?

Several cases were remarkable in my professional life, for different reasons. The most recent memorable case was the issuance of $750,000,000 sustainability-linked bonds. In this very interesting transaction, we worked as legal counsels for the issuer Amaggi, and it was one of the first green bonds in the grains sector. 

How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?

Following the current market trend, in five years, a significant part of agribusiness transactions will be made paperless, from the issuance of instruments and contracts, which will all be digital, to the registration of guarantees before the registry offices, which will all be electronically interconnected.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

The best advice I received in my professional life was from a head of the legal department of an international bank, based in Paris. According to him, there are three criteria used by such a bank for engaging lawyers, in the following order: (a) availability; (b) appearance of the submitted work; and (c) legal technique. In agribusiness, availability is a key factor for the success of a legal professional.

National Leader

Brazil - Agribusiness 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Domicio dos Santos Neto is described by sources as “a renowned name in the market” who is a go-to for structured agricultural trade finance matters involving international investment funds.  

Biography

Domicio dos Santos Neto is the founding partner at Santos Neto Advogados, and head of agribusiness, project finance, trade finance, capital markets, OTC and derivatives, corporate finance and banking and finance departments. Domicio has an outstanding track record advising clients on the negotiation of cross-border transactions, structured commodity financings and syndicated loans, with more than 26 years of experience.

Domicio was admitted to the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), São Paulo chapter, in 1990. He has an LLB (1990) and a master’s degree in tax law (1998), both from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo; and a master’s degree in commercial law from the University of São Paulo (2002). He is a former member of the commission on foreign trade and international relations of the São Paulo chapter of the Brazilian Bar Association.

Domicio is a speaker at many Brazilian and international conferences and author of several published articles on agribusiness and banking and finance.

Brazil - Banking 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Domicio dos Santos Neto gains widespread recognition from market sources who applaud his impressive work on structured commodity finance matters.

Biography

Domicio dos Santos Neto is the founding partner at Santos Neto Advogados, and head of agribusiness, project finance, trade finance, capital markets, OTC and derivatives, corporate finance and banking and finance departments. Domicio has an outstanding track record advising clients on the negotiation of cross-border transactions, structured commodity financings and syndicated loans, with more than 26 years of experience.

Domicio was admitted to the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), São Paulo chapter, in 1990. He has an LLB (1990) and a master’s degree in tax law (1998), both from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo; and a master’s degree in commercial law from the University of São Paulo (2002). He is a former member of the commission on foreign trade and international relations of the São Paulo chapter of the Brazilian Bar Association.

Domicio is a speaker at many Brazilian and international conferences and author of several published articles on agribusiness and banking and finance.

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